“I started smoking when I was about 12. At that time, nobody knew it was bad news. My parents smoked. We’d go for long drives in the car and it was like a chimney. They didn’t know what they were doing,” recalls 71 year old John King.
It was a habit that would later catch up with him. “I knew there was something wrong with me when I went up a flight of stairs and couldn’t breathe when I got up to the top.”
Diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, otherwise known as COPD, King set out to change all of that and enrolled in pulmonary rehab. “I can do things now that I couldn’t do before. Like stairs. Like taking a walk on the beach. Things like that. Ride a bike.”
He’s also made some friend at rehab. The laughter, joking, and camaraderie at his weekly sessions make the rehabilitation process easier. “There’s a lot of humor in this sick disease,” he laughs.
King says anyone dealing with pulmonary problems should consider taking part. “I would urge anybody who has been a smoker or any type of lung disease, to get to their doctor, get diagnosed, and get themselves into a program.”
The pulmonary rehab programs at Cape Coral and Lee Memorial Hospitals educate patients on proper ways to exercise, eat healthy, and deal with their pulmonary conditions.
If a blockage is found, and an additional procedure is needed, the non-interventional cardiologist would refer the patient to an interventional cardiologist for the angioplasty or whatever procedure is needed.